Maiden Aunt


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Martha is first one on the left


The topic this week for  52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  is Maiden Aunt.  I could only find one maiden aunt, and I have already written about her.  So I decided to write about someone who is not a blood relative, but was someone who I thought of as an Aunt and loved.

My grandmother’s brother, Ralph Bowers, was married to Helen Treppa.  Helen had a sister Martha who lived with Ralph and Helen.  When Uncle Ralph and Aunt Helen came to holiday or Sunday dinners, Martha was usually with them.  Martha (Marty was her nickname) paid a lot of attention to me when I was a child, and I loved the attention.  I remember her as a very sweet and quiet lady.  At the time, I just enjoyed Martha’s company and attention, and never thought about her life.  So I really don’t know very much about it.  All I really know is from researching records, and there are not a lot of records on Martha.  No surprises surfaced like a secret marriage or illegitimate children.  She must have led a very normal quiet life, just like I thought. 

Martha was born to John and Helen Treppa on 4 May 1911 in Cook County, Illinois.[1] Martha was the youngest of five children.[2] The family lived at 1441 Lill Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.[3]  When I knew Martha she lived in that same house on Lill Avenue with her sister Helen and brother-in-law Ralph Bowers.  They lived on the second floor and someone else lived downstairs.  In 1940 her brother John and his family lived on the lower level[4] and sometime later they moved and then the apartment was rented out.

Martha worked as a packer for a wholesale meat company.[5]  She always seemed old-fashioned and she was the typical maiden aunt of the time.  Martha died 7 August 1992 at 81 years, 3 months and 3 days old in the state of Washington.[6]

I will always think of Martha with love and remember her kindness and quiet ways.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

[1] Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.  Original data:  “Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878–1922.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009. Illinois. Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878–1922. Illinois Department of Public Health. Division of Vital Records, Springfield.

[2] Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 24, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_335; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 1359

Source Information: 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-01012; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 103-2902.  Source Information: 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

[5] Ibid.

[6] U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2014.  Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.


2 thoughts on “Maiden Aunt

    • I don’t know for sure but her and my Aunt Helen lived with their brother after my Uncle Ralph died. Perhaps he or one of his children moved to Washington and she lived with them Aunt Helen died the year before. I would have to research the whole family to figure it out. In the last few years before Aunt Helen died the only contact I had with them was Christmas Cards.

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